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Gov. Edwards among Louisianans who attended the inauguration; AKA sorority proud of Harris’ achievement

Updated: Jan. 20, 2021 at 8:50 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris raised their right hands to take their respective oaths of office at the U.S. Capitol Governor John Bel Edwards and some other Louisianans were there to witness the historic inaugural up close.

Edwards discussed the experience soon after the ceremony ended.

“Obviously, a very historic day here in Washington D.C., and one that I think is probably more important than ever that we mark the transfer of power from one presidential administration to another in light of what happened here two weeks ago,” he said.

The list of invited guests was intentionally smaller due to the pandemic.

“It was a bit surreal as well because the number of National Guardsmen and police officers and law enforcement folks outnumbered the folks who were there actually to witness the ceremony, but it was a beautiful ceremony, it was moving,” said Edwards.

He hopes Pres. Biden’s call for unity takes hold far and wide.

“I do hope that the people of the country and of Louisiana will pay heed to the call that President Biden gave today that we all come together as united as we can be as Americans to do a better job of listening to one another, to seeing one another and let’s figure out where we can agree and move forward together,” Edwards said.

Edwards says he expects to work well with Biden as he did with former President Donald Trump on things Louisiana needs including COVID-19 related funds and vaccines.

“I was able to talk to him a couple of weeks ago and just go over the fact that we had three hurricanes hit our state last year, there hasn’t yet been an appropriation by Congress to help us with many of the recovery needs that we have,” said Edwards.

New Orleans resident Cedric Richmond who until today represented Louisiana in the Congress was also present at the ceremony. He resigned his congressional seat to become a senior adviser to Biden.

And GOP House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana along with the state’s two Republican U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy were also in attendance.

Harris is the nation’s first female vice president and the first Black and south Asian to hold the office.

“I do also want to just note how historic it was today because of Kamala Harris, the first female vice president ever, the first African American vice president, an American of Indian descent as well,” said Edwards.

Harris attended a historically black school for her undergraduate studies, Howard University in Washington, and pledged with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Danette Anthony Reed is International 1st Vice-President of the sorority. She was asked about the pride attached to having Harris become vice president.

“As a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, we are all extremely ecstatic and excited that our member Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman of color to achieve this position,” said Reed. “When I look at Alpha Kappa Alpha, we are women focused on leadership skills, we’re focused on serving our communities and our country and scholastic achievement and all of these define Vice President Kamala Harris.”

AKA members along with members of other African American sororities and fraternities were active during the campaign season.

“Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Divine Nine are sometimes taken for granted,” said Reed. “And when we pulled together and organized, were involved in the voter movement, our combined commitment speaks for itself.”

Dr. Eva Baham is a Dillard University history professor. She weighed in on the historic nature of the inaugural.

“Whenever anyone from any part of our society creates something new as in history it is important for all of us. With someone from a marginalized, if you will, community and she represents two in this community, meaning that they are minority communities makes history, it should send for all of us or it could send for all of us the message that progress can be made, progress is made,” Baham stated.

Baham was asked how history might remember the day.

“History today is remembered or shall be remembered because of the theme of unity and the diversity,” she said.

And Baham and Reed believe Harris’ history-making achievement will inspire the young.

“Vice President Kamala Harris will continue to make accomplishments and her leadership will continue to demonstrate excellence,” said Reed.

“The trajectory of her story through her parents to say to young girls, to say to young boys and all of their adult parents, here we have hope not only for the present but we can use what we call inspiration and its active agent motivation. There may be obstacles, but we can move forward,” said Baham.

Edwards said he supports Biden’s mandate that masks be worn on federal properties and he said he wants Louisiana to help the new president reach his goal of 100 million vaccine shots in arms during his first 100 days in office.

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